Alonso: Teamwork 'worked really well' in Spa qualifying

Fernando Alonso (ESP) Alpine F1 Team A522 and Esteban Ocon (FRA) Alpine F1 Team A522 leave the pits. 27.08.2022. Formula 1 World Championship, Rd 14, Belgian Grand Prix, Spa Francorchamps, Belgium, Qualifying
© XPB 

It's been an interesting month for Alpine and for Fernando Alonso since the two-time world champion made the surprise announcement that he was leaving the team at the en dof the current season.

Many wondered if the nature of his departure would make it a difficult working environment for the remaining nine races together, but in fact it was teamwork that proved the crucial factor in today's qualifying session in Belgium.

Alonso and his current team mate Esteban Ocon traded places to offer a tow to the other car in turn, with the result that both drivers finished in the top six at the end of Q3.

Ocon is one of a number of drivers with 'back of the grid' penalties for taking extra power unit components meaning he will actually start from P17. But the Frenchman's loss is Alonso's gain as he will be promoted to third on the grid.

“I am happy with our performance today and it’s a positive result for the team with both cars qualifying inside the top six positions," Alonso commented after the end of qualifying.

"We gave each other the tow during the session, and it worked really well.

"It will be exciting tomorrow," he continued. "It’s another opportunity to attack inside the top three at the start.

Fernando Alonso (ESP) Alpine F1 Team with Mohammed Bin Sulayem (UAE) FIA President in qualifying parc ferme. 27.08.2022. Formula 1 World Championship, Rd 14, Belgian Grand Prix, Spa Francorchamps, Belgium, Qualifying

"I want a clean race to capitalise on this position," he added. "We’ll be wary of those behind us, as there are some fast cars starting towards the back of the grid. We’re aiming to be in the top five or six by the chequered flag.”

As for Ocon, it was a bitter sweet occasion. "Fifth place is my equal-best qualifying result of the season, so it’s a bit of a pity to have the grid penalty for tomorrow’s race.

"But we’ve got the package to still get a decent result tomorrow," he insisted. "Fernando will start in third, and I will give it my all to make my way up the grid and bring home some deserved points for the team."

For the team, today's success is crucial in their ongoing battle with McLaren for fourth place in the constructors championship.

"We’re very happy with today’s performance in Qualifying with Esteban fifth, Fernando sixth and, importantly, ahead of our rivals," commented Alpine sporting director Alain Permane.

Fernando Alonso (ESP) Alpine F1 Team A522 sends sparks flying. 27.08.2022. Formula 1 World Championship, Rd 14, Belgian Grand Prix, Spa Francorchamps, Belgium, Qualifying

"What pleases me most is the teamwork by everyone today, including both drivers who did a great job in executing our plan.

"Esteban does have a power unit penalty for tomorrow, which means he starts close to the back of the grid. But with others doing the same, Fernando will start in third place and has an excellent chance for a good result.

"There are faster cars behind us but we’ll remain focused on our race and remain vigilant to beat those with who we are really competing on track and doing everything we can to maximise our points haul in tomorrow’s race.

"That’s our objective and I believe scoring with both cars is possible," he added.

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